Chloë Agnew: ‘I save and save and then I spend and spend’

Irish singer and actor, on setting up a new life in Los Angeles

Are you a saver or a spender?

Definitely both! I save and save and then I spend and spend. My grandfather always used to say, when talking about money, that “you can’t take it to the grave with you”. I do think, if you work hard enough to earn your money, you should be entitled to spend it! Wisely, though.

Do you shop around for better value?

Absolutely. I hate knowing I’ve spent a lot of money on something and then I find the exact same product for half the price.


What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago, and it cost a lot of money finding a place, furnishing it and setting up a new life in a different country. I think anyone who relocates knows how expensive moving costs can be.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

It would probably have to be my green card. It cost me a lot of money at the time in lawyers’ fees and administration costs, but it has given me an opportunity to set up a life and a career in the US. Hopefully, when the time comes, it will give my children opportunities for their future. That’s the best value for money I could ask for.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I only really order online for convenience or if I’m looking for something specific. Generally I prefer supporting local businesses. I also like being able to physically see something or hold it before I part with my money.

Do you haggle over prices?

I think it depends on the situation. If I’m traveling abroad or passing through somewhere where it’s the done thing then yes. I’ll chance my arm if it’s appropriate or expected.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

It changed my outlook on unnecessary, frivolous spending. I think also being in an industry where the nature of my work is so unpredictable it definitely makes you a lot more careful about your spending.

Do you invest in shares?

I can’t say I’ve ever had enough money to invest in shares.

Cash or card?

Card! When I carry cash on me I spend it twice as fast, so using card most of the time helps me keep a better track of what I’m spending.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I just did a haul today from Penneys and came home with two big bags of stuff that has me sorted for the whole summer and my holidays. The value for what you get in somewhere like Penneys – particularly for women – is just unbeatable.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

I’ve always saved up for milestone birthdays to make sure I could get something very special. For myself, it usually involves traveling abroad somewhere and getting a chance to tick things off the bucket list. I’m a big believer in spending money on moments that will create precious memories for life.

Have you ever lost money?

I recently flushed a €20 note down a toilet. It fell out of the back pocket of my jeans, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?

Not really. That said, a couple of years back I saved up some money to bring my sister to Las Vegas. On the last night, we were heading up to bed and I decided to spend my $100 budget on a slot machine that was right by the elevator. All of a sudden the machine started flashing lights and making noises – I had hit a jackpot of $1800, which paid for the trip. It was my one successful gambling moment in life, and I haven’t stopped talking about it since!

Is money important to you?

Only insofar as it can at least allow you to sleep a little easier at night knowing you can pay your bills, keep a roof over your head, and afford some decent quality of life. That allows me to feel a little more content and happy, so if money can do that then, yes, it is important.

How much money do you have on you now?

I’m like the queen, I never carry cash! I don’t have any notes on me, but I always have coins at the bottom of my wallet, and they’re always different currencies. Right now, I have US, British and euro coins.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea